By Sinead Hamill
“We’re all going on a summer holiday. No more working for a week or two….” Ah, that is quite literally, music to my ears! When we hear the music of Cliff Richards’ song ‘Summer Holidays’, images of happy, carefree times immediately spring to mind, right?.... or is that Camembert cheese? If only life always flowed simply as a song! Anyone who has ever travelled with children will know that if you want to resemble the Von Trapp family in anyway whilst
, you will need to do a lot of pre-holiday preparation. First things first - the destination!
Choosing a Destination – It might be a nice idea to first sit down as a family and discuss what each person would like from a holiday. This may help to narrow the choices.
Keep It Real! – If you are on a budget, don’t fret, there are still plenty of options to choose from. Don’t let money become another issue. Children do not need expensive resorts and excursions to enjoy themselves. The best memories are often made from the simple things such as family picnics, camping, a day at the beach burying each other in the sand, staying up late to tell stories whilst eating marshmallows and one of my own favourites – road trips where we all sang our hearts out, with my mam acting as leader of the band!
Be Prepared – Once you’ve decided on a location, do your research. Find out what is on offer in the surrounding areas. Think about transport, food, safety, temperatures, possible language barriers, entertainment, facilities and excursions, local trip advisors, kids’ clubs etc. It sounds like a lot but as they say “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail!”
Travelling – Plan and pack at least a few days in advance of departure. If you have a mode of transport to catch, leave in plenty of time. Last minute stresses do not equate to good starts! If you opt for a long journey, make sure you have plenty of distractions at hand for your children, especially if they are being asked to sit for long periods of time. Things such as puzzles, compact construction activities, books, colouring sheets, a deck of cards, tablets, music and portable DVD’s are just some of the options available to you.
Healthy Habits – Holidays are of course a great excuse for indulging in treats. Enjoy them! Just bear in mind that what we eat does affect our mood, energy and behaviours. Children in particular seem sensitive to sugar overloads. If this sounds like your child, for the sake of the peace, try to alternate between confectionary treats and healthy treats. Also try to ensure your child is getting adequate sleep throughout the holiday. It could save you all a lot of heartache! SUN PROTECTION, SUN PROTECTION, SUN PROTECTION!!! I’ll save you the lecture!
Capture It – All too soon your children will grow up. Take lots of photos and videos that you can look back on together and share your special memories. However, don’t O.D. on the paparazzi front and neglect the actual activities!
Enjoy Each Other – With today’s hectic schedules, we often don’t get to spend as much quality time with our loved ones as we’d like to. We need to make the most of our time together. Once your children grow up, they may not want to travel with you. At times during the holiday, your patience may be tested, but bear in mind, it is these quality moments that make a lifetime of memories, yours and theirs! Make the most of your family’s golden opportunities. Enjoy what each person brings to the group, stay light-hearted, support each other, laugh together and recognise the gift of your time together.
And now you can sing…”We’re all going on a Summer Holiday!”